FAA ground stop proves business needs functioning government to thrive

Good morning.

Unfortunately, while I was traveling yesterday, I was caught up in an FAA ground stop that canceled over 1,200 flights across the US and delayed thousands more. Luckily, I’m the latter, and I’m finally back in New York writing this. It’s hard to know what to do with air travel disruptions, but some points:

— The failure of a major software system used by the FAA highlights that the Southwest is not alone in having outdated systems that desperately need updating. Traveling Americans deserve better.

— Cyberattacks are not at the root of the problem, according to knowledgeable sources. But if the software is that outdated, it’s probably also vulnerable to cyberattacks.

— Delta and United managed the shutdown better than American and Southwest. If you have a choice, it should be clear which airline to fly.

— The FAA’s role is a reminder that the United States needs a functioning federal government to keep our planes running on time. Stagnation and partisan stalemate are bad for business and the economy.

On the last point, there are growing concerns that last week’s extended showdown over the House Speaker’s election could plunge the U.S. into a debt limit crisis later this year. The rule change has made it easier for a small group of House extremists to hold the country’s economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. Interestingly, a rule change would allow a minority group of House moderates in the Republican House to side with Democrats to resolve crises like this. But the problem here is that both parties are increasingly trapped by the minority of those who vote in the primaries, lacking any incentive to act in the interests of the wider public.

Readers of this newsletter always advise me to stay away from politics. Most CEOs I speak to want to do the same, but it’s hard for businesses to thrive in a society where politics is broken.

More news below.

Alan Murray


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of this edition CEO Daily Edited by Claire Zillman.

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